Trouser Press
 
Back to: HomeReviewsWhat's New
 
 
 New Topic  |  Go to Top  |  Go to Topic  |  Search  |  Log In   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 
 One-Hit Blunder?
Author: MrFab 
Date:   03-20-17 23:53

The Modern English discussion brings up an interesting point: the idea that having a hit is, contrary to Big Music's goals, perhaps NOT what music's all about. It may even harm your career. Buster Poindexter, er, David Jo claims that "Feelin Hot Hot Hot" was "the bane of my existence."

Lou Reed, on the other hand, seemed oddly fine with "Walk on the Wild Side." His stock had risen sky high in the '80s with the Velvets revival and albums like "New York," but he still took that damn walk, tho I'm sure much of the crowd would have been fine with him skipping that one. After all, the Neville Brothers skipped "Tell It Like It Is"(at least the one time I saw them.) Artists with long careers, rich catalogs and fervent fans can do that. Neil Young often skips "Southern Man". But Lou always played "WOTHW", even on Letterman when he could have played one of his new ones. I dunno, maybe he really liked it.

Sinatra used to complain about "My Way"in concert, and when I saw Don Ho in Honolulu (hey, it was our honeymoon!) the Ho-man good-naturedly grumbled about having to do "that damn song" "Tiny Bubbles" night after night. I get it, but where would he have been without it?

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: breno 
Date:   03-21-17 08:42

"The King of Rock & Roll" by Prefab Sprout is about this very thing, the tale of a singer who got pigeonholed by his one hit, a silly pop song, and his love-hate relationship with it.

Of course, the Sprouts sometimes being too smart for their own good, they wrapped that tale up in the form of a silly pop song which became a hit in the UK, and led to Paddy McAloon telling the story of getting to meet Paul McCartney and McCartney instantly breaking into "Hot dog, jumping frog, Albuquerque!" when he found out who McAloon was, to McAloon's mild chagrin.

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: Delvin 
Date:   03-21-17 10:54

The one time I saw Lou Reed, he did perform "Walk on the Wild Side," which he (and his band) seemed to enjoy. But you could tell, he was absolutely sick and tired of "Sweet Jane." He played it in the Rock 'n' Roll Animal style, rather than the arrangement on Loaded. Frankly, I couldn't blame him, since that later version always was DOA to me too.

Personally, I couldn't see why Lou even bothered, if he just didn't enjoy it. To me, he was one of those artists who doesn't "have to" play anything on stage if he doesn't feel like it. Same with Richard Thompson, Bob Dylan, Prince, and a few others. Their depth and quality of catalog should be enough to assemble a setlist from throwing darts at a list.

David Bowie was the same way. For my money, he could've stuck to his word, that the Sound + Vision Tour was going to be his last one built around the hits. He could've built a two-hour set around nothing but deep/album cuts, and it would've been great. (Then again, he did just that on his next tour, with Nine Inch Nails as the opener, and judging from the overall responses he got from the crowds, I'd say I'm in the minority on that view.)



Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: MrFab 
Date:   03-21-17 11:59

Of course, Richard Thompson doesnt have any hits! (does he?) But yeah Dylan is notorious for pissing on audience expectations.

Funny story about Jonathan Richman telling the original Modern Lovers, "Guys, I think we might wanna stop playing 'Roadrunner,' its getting too popular!" Sure 'nuff, I've never heard him play it.

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: Michael Toland 
Date:   03-21-17 12:27

"Of course, Richard Thompson doesnt have any hits! (does he?)"

Not hits in the top 40 sense, but definitely songs he's expected to play: "1952 Vincent Black Lightning," "Shoot Out the Lights" (probably a good chunk of that album, in fact), "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight," probably "I Feel So Good," "Tear Stained Letter" and "Meet on the Ledge," maybe "Dad's Gonna Kill Me." No idea how he feels about any of those. I saw him do "Lightning" on the Americana Music Awards show and it definitely felt like he was just grinding it out. But then I saw him the next year do it to a small audience during SXSW and just knock it out of the park like it was brand new, so it probably depends on the day.

Now that I look at his recent setlists at Setlist.fm, it looks like he plays whatever he damn well pleases. But, as has been noted about Dylan and Bowie, he has such a deep catalog it's unlikely any of his fans walk away unsatisfied.

I saw Jethro Tull once (don't judge me), around 2002 or so. They played one song from the 90s and everything else was from the 70s. I thought, "God, Anderson must be sick of playing 'Aqualung' by now," though he certainly didn't act like it. I read an interview not long after where he said that, though the old songs didn't mean anything to him personally anymore, he knew that they still meant something to the Tull audience, and thus he still enjoyed performing them because it made the fans happy.

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: Heff 
Date:   03-21-17 15:13

I didn't know Jonathan Richman ever played Modern Lovers songs. I'm pretty sure he's never done every time I've seen him.

In an interview with Robyn Hitchcock on what song he hates the most ("Arthur's Theme"), he said of his own work, he disliked "Balloon Man" and "My Wife and My Dead Wife" the most and that he tries to avoid playing them live but when I last saw him, he opened up with those very two. We'll see if plays them again when I see him in a couple of months.

Apparently, Colin Hay doesn't really like his Men at Work stuff but he plays the big hits for pretty much the same reason Ian Anderson said.

King Missile would play "Detachable Penis" first or second so, the people that came to see that would be able to leave early.



Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: breno 
Date:   03-21-17 15:55

Quote:

I didn't know Jonathan Richman ever played Modern Lovers songs. I'm pretty sure he's never done every time I've seen him.


The one time I skipped seeing him in the '90s (or maybe the early 00s) in St. Louis, the local indie rag reported that he did "Pablo Picasso."

Last time I saw him a couple of years ago, he did maybe seven songs, which he stretched out to 10 or 15 minutes each due to monologues and digressions. They were all hilarious and entertaining, but when he came through town a week or two ago, I didn't feel the need to go see him.

Of course, he's getting up in years now. He still seems pretty healthy, but he's well into his mid-60s. I probably oughtn't be so cavalier in skipping opportunities to see him.

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: MrFab 
Date:   03-21-17 16:15

Quote:

King Missile would play "Detachable Penis" first or second so, the people that came to see that would be able to leave early.


From a New Yorker article last year: "It’s best to deal with King Missile’s irreverent 1992 smash, “Detachable Penis,” the way the band does in its sets: quickly, loosely, and early...Hall updated some lyrics: “People say, ‘Well, that’s a nice little story, but isn’t it about time you get it permanently attached?’ I say no, because then my gender identity would be fixed.”

Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: Delvin 
Date:   03-21-17 18:20

> King Missile would play "Detachable Penis" first or second so, the people that came to see
> that would be able to leave early.

Detachable audience, I guess.



Reply To This Message
 
 Re: One-Hit Blunder?
Author: Delvin 
Date:   03-21-17 18:34

The three times I've seen Richard Thompson, he played "Beeswing" all three times, "1952 VBL" twice, and closed with "Tear-Stained Letter" all three times. That last one is the one that he could retire permanently, as far as I'm concerned.

Having seen Robyn H. four times, I don't think I've ever heard him play "Balloon Man" or "My Wife and My Dead Wife." But I'd say he's in the same deep-catalogue club as Thompson.

The two times I saw Smashing Pumpkins, Corgan took opposite approaches to his hits. The first time, the band front-loaded the set, and told the crowd about midway through that anyone who'd come for those proven crowd-pleasers was free to go if they liked. The second time, they played all of Oceania start to finish, and then dug into the hits (which Corgan likened to showing everyone his high school yearbook).

Of the five times I saw Prince, for two of those shows, he eschewed most of his hits. Another show, on the Musicology Tour, was nothing less than a greatest hits revue. On the Lovesexy Tour, he front-loaded the set with his hits, focusing on his newest material in the second half. And one show was basically a mix of older and newer material ... until he got to the encore, which was the entire Purple Rain album start to finish.



Reply To This Message
 Threaded View   Newer Topic  |  Older Topic 


 Need a Login? Register Here 
 User Login
 User Name:
 Password:
 Remember my login:
   
 Forgot Your Password?
Enter your email address or user name below and a new password will be sent to the email address associated with your profile.

phorum.org